Who else wants more engaging conference presentations?

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Have you had the experience of attending professional conferences where you experienced death by PowerPoint—a presentation in which the person at the front of the room has too much text on too many slides. Often, the presenter then proceeds to read to the audience everything that is already written on the slides. This can soon become very dull indeed. But what if that presenter is you? How can those of us who find ourselves at the front of the room make our presentations more interesting and engaging to our participants?

One step you can take is to make your presentations more visual and less text heavy. Over the past few years, I’ve made a lot of changes in the slides that I use when giving presentations at professional conferences. I try now , whenever possible, to use slides that contain strong images, and only a few words.

I find that although our field is largely concerned with literacy and helping our own students to read, in general we’re not very literate ourselves when it comes to basic concepts of graphic design. My approach to presentations, has been strongly influenced by a book by Garr Reynolds called Presentation Zen. In his book, Reynolds argues for the following: 1) Use strong images in your presentations. 2) Use less text. 3) Fill the entire slide with your image. Don’t use tiny images here and there. 4) Try to focus on only one idea per slide. It’s better to have a larger number of slides, with just one idea on each one, than to fill your slides with many different ideas.

Read the rest of this post on the TESOL Blog.

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